LeBron James is one of the greatest players in NBA history and probably the greatest all-around player of all time. He recently turned 37 years old but he is still dominating the league. Right now, he is second best scorer in the NBA with 28.5 PPG, trailing only Kevin Durant who has 29.8 PPG.
If he can keep those numbers, that would be his fourth best scoring season in career, which is amazing when we know how old LeBron James is. Even though LeBron James is not in MVP consideration because of the Lakers’ record, he is still the top-3 best player in the world and we can say that he is aging like a fine wine.
Since his rookie year, LeBron James scored more than 20 points per game, and even though his scoring skills are always in the second plan because of his all-around skills, let go through each season and how many points per game he had in his 19-season long career.
Here are LeBron’s season-by-season points per game averages.
2004 NBA Season – 20.9 PPG
LeBron was selected by his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers as the first overall pick of the 2003 NBA Draft. In his first regular-season game, he scored 25 points against the Kings, setting an NBA record for most points scored by a pre-to-pro player in his debut. At the end of the season, he became the first Cavaliers player to win Rookie of the Year.
He won ROY by averaging 20.9 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 5.9 assists per game. He became the third player in league history to average a slash line of at least 20/5/5 as a rookie. Cleveland finished the season 35-47 and missed the playoffs despite an 18-game improvement from the previous season.
2005 NBA Season – 27.2 PPG
In his second season, LeBron made the All-Star Game for the first time. Teams began to notice his rapid development in the league. Despite being only 20 years old, he was gaining attention as being one of the best players in the NBA. That was confirmed when he scored 56 points against the Raptors on March 20, 2005.
That ultimately became the new single-game points record for the Cavaliers. LeBron finished the season averaging 27.2 points, 7.4 rebounds, 7.2 assists, and 2.2 steals per game. He was named to his first All-NBA Team. However, the Cavaliers failed to make the playoffs, finishing 4240.
2006 NBA Season – 31.4 PPG
LeBron led the East to a victory in the 2006 All-Star Game, where he scored 29 points and received All-Star Game MVP. His scoring carried over to the regular season where he scored 31.4 points per game. Along with 7.0 rebounds and 6.6 assists, LeBron finished second in the MVP voting to Steve Nash despite many believing that LeBron should have won it himself.
Under the leadership of LeBron, the Cavaliers qualified for the playoffs for the first time since 1998. In his postseason debut, LeBron recorded a triple-double in a win over the Wizards. In Game 3, he made a game-winning shot, while also repeating that same feat in Game 5. In the end, the Cavaliers were ousted by the Detroit Pistons in the second round.
2007 NBA Season – 27.3 PPG
After scoring at least 30 points per game for the first time, LeBron’s averages dipped to 27.3 points, 6.7 rebounds, 6.0 assists, and 1.6 steals. Critics around the league believed that his “regression” stemmed from LeBron focusing more on taking harder shots. It felt like he was pressing too hard given the past failures of the team’s overall play.
LeBron would have his best season yet since being drafted by leading the team to the Eastern Conference Finals and a 50-win season. In Game 5 against the Pistons, LeBron notched 48 points, which included scoring 29 of the team’s final 30 points. That included the game-winning layup with two seconds left in a double-overtime game. The Cavaliers went on to defeat the Pistons and play the Spurs in the NBA Finals before losing to the Spurs. LeBron struggled in the series, averaging 22.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 6.8 assists in the sweep.
2008 NBA Season – 30.0 PPG
LeBron won All-Star Game MVP for the second time in his career by nearly recording a triple-double. One month later, LeBron moved past Brad Daugherty as the all-time leading scorer in franchise history. It took LeBron over 100 fewer games to make the top of the list. His overall scoring that season was so superb that he won his first NBA scoring title with 30.0 points per game.
Despite his success, Cleveland’s record dropped under 50 wins as the team finished 45-37. The Cavaliers finished the year as the No. 4 seed, but were able to finish the Wizards in the first round of the playoffs for the third consecutive year. Unfortunately, the Cavaliers were eliminated by the Celtics in seven games, which featured Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and Kevin Garnett, who ultimately won the NBA championship. During the decisive seventh game, LeBron scored 45 points, while Pierce scored 41 in a complete offensive shootout.
2009 NBA Season – 28.4 PPG
LeBron didn’t just score this season but also knuckled down on the defensive end. He finished second in the Defensive Player of the Year Award voting and made his first All-Defensive Team. His 93 blocks were a career-high. With that, he became only the fourth post-merger player to lead his team in points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks in a single season.
The Cavaliers acquired All-Star guard Mo Williams and the Cavaliers set a franchise record for wins with a 66-16 record. They fell one game short of matching the best home record in league history. With his line of 28.4 points, 7.6 rebounds, 7.2 assists, 1.7 steals, and 1.2 blocks, LeBron became the first Cavaliers player to win the MVP Award.
2010 NBA Season – 29.7 PPG
Due to injuries to the team’s backcourt, LeBron was forced into playing point guard. The position change didn’t matter as LeBron led the Cavaliers to the best record in the league for a second straight season. Due to his increased minutes as the primary ball-handler, LeBron saw an increase in production, finishing with a line of 29.7 points, 7.3 rebounds, 8.6 assists, 1.6 steals, and 1.0 blocks on 50% shooting.
LeBron won the MVP for a second straight season, but his playoff showing led to extreme criticism. The Cavaliers fell to the Celtics in the second round of the playoffs despite owning the No. 1 seed. LeBron shot 20% from the field in Game 5, where he scored 15 points. The team suffered their worst loss in franchise history and LeBron walked off the court to the post-merger. The team was eliminated in Game 6 despite LeBron finishing with a triple-double of 27 points, 19 rebounds, and 10 assists. He did finish with nine turnovers as well.
2011 NBA Season – 26.7 PPG
After multiple attempts and failure of leading Cleveland to a title, LeBron opted to join the Miami Heat, which led to a negative image around the league. He became only the third MVP to change teams and the first since Moses Malone in 1982. Throughout the season, fans treated LeBron and the Heat organization like villains.
On December 2, LeBron played the Cavaliers for the first time since departing as a free agent. He scored 38 points and led Miami to a win. It came at a cost as he was booed every time he touched the ball. The Heat finished as the No. 2 seed, made the NBA Finals, but lost to the Mavericks in the end.
2012 NBA Season – 27.1 PPG
The season was delayed due to the 2011 NBA lockout. LeBron worked with Hakeem Olajuwon in the offseason to improve his post-game. He was also offered an opportunity to play in the NFL as a receiver by the Cowboys and Seahawks but chose to stay in the NBA. Thanks to a humbling season, LeBron tried to focus on expanding his skill set.
Miami’s reward was setting a franchise record for the best start through 24 games. The team was 18-6 and never looked back as LeBron averaged 27.1 points, 7.9 rebounds, 6.2 assists, and 1.9 steals on 53% shooting. LeBron won his third MVP Award and led Miami to their first championship since 2006.
2013 NBA Season – 26.8 PPG
The following year, LeBron set multiple shooting efficiency records and the Heat enjoyed a 27-game winning streak at one point. It was the third-longest streak in NBA history. The Heat set a franchise record for wins in a season with a 66-16 record. LeBron was named MVP for the fourth time in his career, falling just one shot shy of becoming the first player to win unanimously.
LeBron’s best moments came in the playoffs. In Game 1 of the Conference Finals, LeBron hit a buzzer-beating layup to give Miami the one-point win over the Pacers. He took on the scoring load, just like his days when he played in Cleveland and helped Miami make it back to the NBA finals. The Spurs had the Heat on the brink of elimination, but LeBron used 16 fourth-quarter points to help Miami come back. After a clutch, Ray Allen shot in Game 6, LeBron answered in Game 7 with 37 points to help win his second straight NBA Finals MVP Award.
2014 NBA Season – 27.1 PPG
In his final season with the Heat, LeBron set a franchise record with 61 points against the Charlotte Bobcats. Due to multiple injuries, LeBron began to embark on his journey as the master of positionless basketball. He was part of 20 different starting lineups but still managed to produce 27.1 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 6.4 assists.
In the playoffs, he tied a career postseason high by scoring 49 points against the Nets. In the Conference Finals, Miami defeated the Pacers to make the Finals a fourth straight year. In Game 1, LeBron suffered from leg cramps, but he helped tie the series in Game 2 with 35 points on 64% shooting. However, the Spurs would win the next three games despite LeBron averaging 28.2 points for the series.
2015 NBA Season – 25.3 PPG
After losing to the Spurs, LeBron opted to return to Cleveland in the offseason. He played a career-low 69 games with lower points per game average. With that said, the team had formed a big three of LeBron, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love, so he had plenty of help in keeping the team afloat.
In the second round of the playoffs, LeBron’s buzzer-beater allowed the Cavaliers to tie the Bulls 2-2. That ultimately carried the momentum over as the Bulls were eliminated in six games. In the Conference Finals, the Cavaliers swept the Hawks, making LeBron the first player since the 1960s to make the Finals five straight years. With Irving and Love out with injuries, LeBron still managed to lead Cleveland to a 2-1 series lead. He nearly won Finals MVP despite the Warriors coming back after he averaged 35.8 points, 13.3 rebounds, and 8.8 assists in the Finals.
2016 NBA Season – 25.3 PPG
Despite distractions involving David Blatt, LeBron helped the Cavaliers win 57 games, own the best record in the East, and lead the team back to the NBA Finals. Cleveland trailed Golden State 3-1 in the series, but LeBron would respond with some of the best basketball we have ever seen from him.
In Games 5 and 6, LeBron registered back-to-back 41 point games. In Game 7, he posted a triple-double, including the legendary block on Andre Iguodala. The victory allowed Cleveland to enjoy their first professional sports title in 52 years and the first team in NBA history to come back from a 3-1 deficit.
2017 NBA Season – 26.4 PPG
The 2016-2017 season featured numerous injuries and unexpected losses. The Cavaliers finished the season as the No. 2 seed despite LeBron averaging 26.4 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 8.7 assists. In 4.1 turnovers were a career-high as he was trying to control many aspects of the games given the inconsistency the team was getting from the supporting cast.
Once again, his best performances came in the playoffs. In Game 3 of the first round, LeBron scored 41 points and led Cleveland back from a 25-point deficit at halftime. Later, in the Conference Finals, LeBron scored 35 points and surpassed Michael Jordan as the league’s all-time leading postseason scorer. Cleveland ultimately made the NBA Finals but lost to the Warriors in five games. Despite Kevin Durant earning Finals MVP, LeBron became the first player ever to average a triple-double in the Finals with 33.6 points, 12.0 rebounds, and 10.0 assists per game.
2018 NBA Season – 27.5 PPG
The Cavaliers made a massive roster move before the season started by trading Kyrie Irving to the Celtics. Irving didn’t want to play with LeBron anymore. After a slow start, the Cavaliers won 18 of 19 games in December, which included a 57-point outburst from LeBron. Later in the year, LeBron set an NBA record with 867 straight games by scoring in double digits.
By the end of the year, LeBron averaged 27.5 points, 8.6 rebounds, 9.2 assists, and 4.2 turnovers per game. The Cavaliers made the Finals, which was LeBron’s eighth straight trip, but the Warriors swept the team in four games. After delivering on his promise of bringing a title to Cleveland, LeBron would make a change at the end of the season.
2019 NBA Season – 27.4 PPG
LeBron joined the Los Angeles Lakers, who were reeling from previous losing seasons. LeBron came out of the gate strong, recording a 55-point, 10-rebound, nine assist game on November 14th, 2018. Four days later, he scored a season-high 51 points in a win over the Heat. On Christmas Day, the Lakers blew out the Warriors, but LeBron suffered a groin injury, which caused him to miss 17 straight games.
On March 7, 2019, LeBron was put on a minutes restriction, and then on the 30th, he was ruled out for the rest of the year. The team was unable to recover from the loss of LeBron and the team missed the playoffs. It was the first time since 2005 that LeBron missed the playoffs and the first time he missed the Finals since 2010. For his efforts, he made All-NBA Third Team, making it the first time in 12 years that he didn’t make All-NBA First Team.
2020 NBA Season – 25.3 PPG
With Anthony Davis new to the team, Los Angeles opened the year 17-2, marking the best start in franchise history. On January 25, 2020, LeBron passed Kobe Bryant for third on the all-time regular-season scoring list, which was the day before Bryant’s tragic helicopter crash. LeBron moved to point guard this season. Despite the move and battling COVID-19, LeBron led the league in assists while averaging 25.3 points per game.
At the end of the season, LeBron earned a record 16th All-NBA Team selection. In the playoffs, LeBron helped eliminate the Nuggets with 38 points, including 16 in the fourth quarter, in Game 5. In the NBA Finals, he had his best game in Game 5, where he recorded 40 points in a memorable duel with Jimmy Butler. In Game 6, the Lakers clinched the title. LeBron won Finals MVP at 35 years, 287 days old, making him the second-oldest player to win the award.
2021 NBA Season – 25.0 PPG
Before the year began, the season was reduced to 72 games due to a later start because of the COVID-19 pushback. On December 31, 2020, LeBron became the first player in NBA history to score 10 or more points in 1,000 consecutive games. On February 18, 2021, LeBron became the third player in NBA history with at least 35,000 career points, joining Abdul-Jabbar and Malone.
At 36 years, 50 days, he was the youngest player to reach that milestone. It was also his 17th consecutive season averaging at least 25 points per game. It just goes to show that even though LeBron is getting up there in age, he is continuously playing at a high level. Even without the playoff success, LeBron is right where he wants to be in this all-time points race. As long as he stays healthy, he has a good shot to finish as the all-time leading scorer in the NBA.
2022 NBA Season – 28.6 PPG
If LeBron is able to continue to keep up this pace, then it will go down as one of the greatest NBA seasons we have ever seen from an older player. If the season ended today, LeBron would crush Kareem’s points per game record for player’s points per game totals for a player age 37 years old or older. Kareem averaged 23.4 points per game when he was 38 years old during the 1985-1986 season.
When LeBron scored 43 points against the Trail Blazers on New Year’s Eve, it was just one day after his 37th birthday, which qualified him to be a part of the 37-years old or older club. That point total now ranks second-most by a 37-year old, trailing only Kobe Bryant’s 60-point effort in the final game of his career. Also, keep in mind that LeBron hasn’t averaged at least 28 points per game in a season since his final season with the Cavaliers in his first stint in 2009-2010. That was over a decade ago. Can he sustain this the rest of the year?
LeBron James Is One Of The Greatest Scorers In NBA History
Yes, he is. We have zero doubt in that one. First, LeBron James is one of the six players who averaged more than 27 points per game. Second, Kevin Durant, as greatest scorer as he is, is averaging only 0.07 points per game more than LeBron James. Right now, LeBron is tied with Jerry West for fifth all-time in points per game with 27.03. That puts him right behind Kevin Durant at 27.10. The only players ahead of these two are Elgin Baylor (27.36), Wilt Chamberlain (30.07), and Michael Jordan (30.12).
LeBron has to play two more games to qualify for the scoring race because you must play in 70% of your games and he has played in only 26 of the team’s 38 games this season. Once he gets to 28 out of 40, if his 28.5 points per game is still what he is averaging, he will be second to only Durant’s 29.7 points per game in the scoring race.
Almost 11 years ago, LeBron James said that he could win scoring title every year, and that is probably the truth. Even though he has only one scoring title, he still belongs to the greatest scorers in NBA history, and what he is doing at age of 37 is truly remarkable and amazing.
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